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When you write fiction, you hope someone’s gonna like it. You never expect it’ll win an award, let alone TWO. My short experimental fiction piece A Man of Light and Scales placed second in the Maricopa Community Colleges District Writing Competition and second in Glendale Community College’s Traveler Competition. As these are both solely print journals, I now present the story for your online reading pleasure (even if my mom still doesn’t get the ending). Warning: explicit content and general mind-f**kery.

A Man of Light and Scales
By Sara Dobie Bauer

You meet him your second day in Charleston. More so, perhaps, you meet his violin. He’s wearing a suit you imagine cost as much as a car. No tie, which allows you a peek at his long, pale throat and into the shadowy place were neck meets chest. As he speaks to you, he’s still holding his violin: a red piece of wood with scratch marks and a faded veneer. You wonder at the abuse the instrument has taken but soon think these are not marks of abuse but marks of love—of devotion.

7ddf0379426a822a3033a26a364f9993You’re in a place called the Charleston Grill. Waiters scurry like albino beetles in white shirts and dark slacks. The restaurant smells of butter and fish but mostly butter. There’s a large framed photo of Billie Holiday on the back wall.

After the jazz quintet finishes their last set, you find out his name is Graydon Kelly and he would like to take you to dinner. At first, you think you should say no. He has that look about him: the thorn on the rose, the sugared rim of the poisoned glass. He’s over six feet tall. He has black hair, offset by light blue eyes. His cheekbones are even higher than yours, and you fleetingly think that if you reproduced with this man, your children’s faces would be pointed and sharp.

You agree to meet him the following night at a small Italian restaurant around the block called Il Cortile, translated from “Courtyard of the King,” and you laugh when you realize there is something quite kingly about Graydon Kelly.

When he shows up to your date late, you reassess. He’s in a pastel linen button-down and torn jeans. He has on boat shoes, and his curly black hair is a mess. He smells like pine. “Rosin,” he explains. Something to do with his violin.

He takes your hand and leads you to a table in the courtyard. His left hand is callused against yours. Outside, winding, wrestling fig veins grow up the exterior wall, illuminated by white twinkle lights that mimic the stars. He pulls out your chair and sighs into his seat.

He must notice you looking at him, because he smiles. “I look different when I’m not on stage.”

You acknowledge this is true.

“What’s the old adage? Fall in love with Gilda, but wake up to me?”

You fall into conversation, and it’s not the usual, polite, getting to know you babble. Graydon Kelly says odd, irresponsible things like, “You seem like you’re running from something” or “You have an amazing mouth” or the worst, “What do you think of me exactly?”

You only respond to the last comment: a terse, “I’m not sure.” You know this is a lie. You’re wild about every inch of him.

cb185530dd3a381b68d099afca968a3bHe walks you home in a rainstorm, leaving you both soaked and panting on the crooked front porch of the yellow plantation house you rent on Vanderhorst Street. He presses you against the exterior wall and kisses you with his hands in your hair. He smells like rain and marinara sauce with the lingering touch of pine. He tastes like tiramisu.

You invite him to fuck you on the front porch. At this, he falters. Perhaps not the thorn on the rose after all. But he falters only a moment before lifting your skirt, lifting you.

But Graydon Kelly does not fuck. He is an artist. His hips move the way he moves his bow across violin strings. When he comes with his forehead pressed against yours, you’re horrified to realize you could easily love this man.

Later, in your bed, you find him conversational. He makes himself at home. He is comfortable with pillow talk, even with an almost stranger. Again, you doubt your assessments.

He seemed so dangerous in his dark suit at Charleston Grill but so playful in his boat shoes with his messy hair: almost innocent—the kind of man you would take home to meet Mom. His comfort in your bed, though, is his tell, his admission. He does this all the time. He makes love to women he doesn’t know because they ask him to, because of his violin and his face and the strange questions he spouts over champagne.

When you ask about a white scar on his rib cage, he tells you his father used to beat him. One day, his father broke his ribs. One poked through the skin. In Graydon’s words, the bone looked like “a stick dipped in marmalade.” He was sixteen.

His honesty makes you awkward. You feel a need to share something, too, so you tell him you’ve been diagnosed schizophrenic. He doesn’t know what this means, not really, so you explain to him that you see things sometimes—children in white light on sidewalks; grown men covered in red scales. You tell him things have been better since the medication.

d51689d1bace799cc524d87377c06b5eYou expect him to leave, but he doesn’t. He stays until morning. You wake with his long appendages wrapped around you, his nose in your hair.

Then, he disappears. He’s gone for days before you hear from him again. By then, you’ve run the race of emotions and lost. You were cool at first, calm. Then, you missed him and hated yourself for missing him. Then, you were angry, which was when he returned—at the height of your anger.

He tells you he was gone to Nashville for a show. He tells you he travels a lot. You let him kiss you at Charleston Grill, and that night, he takes you back to his apartment: the second floor of a Battery mansion in the French Quarter. The floors are crooked, and his house smells like the sea.

He calls it “The Ballroom.”

It’s just one huge room with a bed in the corner, spotless kitchen, a rack of what appear to be expensive clothes, and finally, behind the only door, a bathroom.

He makes love to you in a grand, encompassing way, with his gaze on your face. You want to shield yourself. You feel like Lot’s wife, turned to salt.

There is no discussion of titles. You are not his girlfriend. When another woman kisses him in front of you, you say not a word.

After that, you allow yourself occasional visits to the Grill to watch him play. Graydon has played since he was eight, taught in Ireland, where he spent his childhood, which explained the accent that circled his vowels when he drank too much scotch. You watch his callused fingers. Your eyes wander down every crease and crevice of his black suit. You picture the way he looks underneath: a sinewy stretch of muscle and pale flesh and wonder how many other women in the room picture the same. You run your fingers down the side of your glass, slick with condensation.

He spends more time at your house. He brings sheet music, composes. One day, as you bring him a cup of coffee, you see your name written in pencil at the top of a page. The sound of musical scales is omnipresent.

You tell him you love him months later, and he frowns. He says, “I told you not to fall in love with me.”

And he did, too, the night you met his rich, Irish mother. In fact, he begged you. He begged you again and again, “Don’t fall in love with me. Don’t fall in love with me.” You were afraid to ask why.

36b4f9bd438941e6923265a4c84d38f4With your newly recognized emotions, you think Graydon Kelly will stop seeing you. Instead, the sex gets even better, almost as if he seeks to fulfill your emotional needs by giving you the gift of his skin. And it is a gift. You suspect he knows it.

You stop taking your meds and end up in a hospital. You don’t remember much. You remember the Grill and violin music. You had one of your hallucinations—a child surrounded by light, then nothing. When you open your eyes, you’re in an uncomfortable bed. Machines beep around you. Your head aches, and the violin player sleeps, slumped in a chair with his hand over yours.

You wake him with your voice, and he seems panicked. His light blue eyes dart around the room. He paces. He wants to know when you ate last. He demands, “When was the last time you ate?”

There is blood on his white shirt. It’s from a wound on your head. Apparently, you passed out and knocked yourself against a barstool. Graydon curls up in the little hospital bed with you, and you run your fingers through his hair.

He tells you he loves you, and now, you understand his earlier request: Don’t fall in love with me. You are panicked to understand you’ve been waiting your whole life for a man to love you. Now one does, and the pressure in your heart equals only the pressure in your bandage-bound head.

His composition is finished by Christmas. It is, in fact, your Christmas gift. He named it for you, and he plays it with his eyes closed. He plays most music with his eyes closed. He says he likes to feel the notes. He says playing music is like drowning, like when you stay underwater too long and feel light-headed, high. He says it feels like that.

You begin to wonder how much he hides from you. You know about his father, dead now ten years. You’ve met his mother, who worships him like the Christ child. He has only one friend: a dreadlocked drummer named Quent with flawless skin and beautiful teeth. Women circle Graydon, always.

Some nights, you stare at yourself in the mirror. You know you are lovely. You have long, chestnut hair. You have multi-colored eyes that resemble flower petals up close. Your cheekbones are high—but not as high as his. As he said, you have a very nice mouth. Despite all this, you sometimes wonder why he chose you. Of all the women in Charleston, he chose to love you.

When you end up in the hospital again, you fight. You had one of your visions. You saw a man with red scales, and you passed out. Graydon does not call you crazy, but he looks strangled. You decide your love is his noose, so you send him away, screaming.

He tells you days later that he slept with one of the nurses. After you kicked him out, he asked her out for coffee and instead fucked her in the hospital parking garage.

You take him back, because he’s not the man in the suit when he admits all this. He’s the man from your first date in the torn jeans and boat shoes. He’s the man with the unkempt black hair and the cloud of pine. He reminds you of home when you hug him and hold him until he stops shaking. He moves into your yellow house permanently.

9ada01c374fb5319d22742c7e841738eAt your wedding, he plays the song he wrote for you. He pays the big bucks to get you a suite at Charleston Place. In your fervor to remove his suit and find him, just him, underneath, you forget the condom.

When you tell him you’re pregnant, he worries his bottom lip. You think he’s going to tell you to get rid of the child. He can’t be a father. Of course he can’t. He travels and plays late nights and drinks too much. As you prepare yourself, though, he leans over in bed and rests his head on your stomach.

He says, “I think I hear Bach.”

Graydon Kelly is a wonderful father, despite everyone’s expectations. He was playing a show in Columbia when you went into labor. He missed Angela’s birth by five minutes but rushed in, hair askew, sweat on his brow, and took your newborn daughter in his hands like a Stradivarius.

He played a new song—a secret song—that he’d written for his little girl to the delight and amusement of the entire obstetrics floor.

He devotes all his emotion to Angela and to you. There are still those nights when you look in the mirror and wonder how you ended up with the talk of Charleston as your husband.

He gets more handsome with age, and you didn’t think that possible. He fills out a little. You enjoy the way his chest expands, the way he makes you feel smaller, smaller. There is less of you now, more of him. His black hair mimics the slick iridescence of a duck’s wing. His eyes darken. His left hand, as always, is callused.

You love how in bed you know which of his hands touches you, right or left.

You love him more than you love your daughter. You would die for him, kill for him. Sometimes you think you never should have agreed to that first date.

But then, he starts composing again, and when composing, he looks like a scungy frat boy. He goes from thirty-eight-year-old celebrity violinist to backwards cap-wearing, finger-chewing, forgets-to-shower little boy. You love him the most when he’s like this. Then comes a new song, and you love him more, more.

02a95a9ae6101647f587e1102ad3acebAngela grows. Graydon decides she will learn piano. She looks just like her father. You feel as though there is none of you in her, as though his dominant features suppressed your own. Your features linger in your empty uterus.

One night, you ask him to fuck you. You don’t want to make love, and he obliges. By the end, you slide over each other, covered in sweat. You pass names back and forth, pants of heated breath. His orgasm is so jarring he leaves fingerprint bruises on the outsides of your thighs.

Since they adjusted your medication, you don’t see the demons or angels anymore. There are no children in white light waiting on the corners of Vanderhorst and King. There are no slinking men with red scales and yellow eyes. No more hospital visits.

You think you are happy. You watch Graydon play with Angela in your backyard. She already far surpasses her piano teacher’s expectations and her father’s. The little girl has long, black hair that curls around her pale neck. She has her father’s fleeting smile, his long fingers. She has his glowing blue eyes.

When he’s on stage at the Charleston Grill, he doesn’t look at you because he enjoys the slow asphyxiation his violin allows. When he is at home, he stares at you, adores you. Then, he looks away. You often wonder if you’ve stopped seeing things at all. Don’t you?

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I had the pleasure of seeing Lana Del Rey in concert last week, along with Courtney Love (who I worshipped as a teenager and whose showmanship I still greatly admire). We arrived at the concert on a chilly Phoenix night. The first time I realized I was super old was in the ladies’ restroom when a girl in an atrocious 80s throwback outfit said, “My mom gave me ten bucks for tonight!”

Then, I really looked around. Teenage girls were everywhere, and despite the chill, they were dressed like whores. Am I now officially old? Apparently yes, as even I was distraught by some of the costuming. Thank God Courtney Love picked on them: the girls with their high-waisted, white-washed shorts; flower headbands; and see-through shirts. And I say “girls” with all seriousness. The owners of the slutty attire weren’t old enough to drink, and they looked like they belonged on street corners.

I didn’t understand Lana Del Rey had a cult, not until she came onstage and some teeny bopper behind me said, dreamily, “She’s an angel!” She does have an image. Her videos are very glam, as are her clothes. I learned from a friend that she doesn’t allow professional photographers at her concerts because she wants full creative control over how people see her. Even the big screens on the side of the stage showed only her singing face, heavily filtered to look like footage from a 1950s Oscar film.

I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s weird. Her music is weird. Well, I mean, her lyrics are weird … and superbly dark. Some that stick out:

“I am f***ing crazy, but I am free.”

“I f***ed my way up to the top.”

“You and I … we were born to die.”

“In the land of gods and monsters, I was an angel looking to get f***ed hard.”

“I know if I go, I’ll die happy tonight.”

“My p***y taste likes Pepsi Cola.” (That censored word is not “puppy.”)

Lana Del Rey might be sick and twisted, but she sings about depression and infidelity and drug addiction with honesty. She also does so with a heavy dose of satire. My concern? These teeny boppers don’t know the difference. In fact, they might not even know what “satire” means.

I won’t start attacking the parents who sat in front of us with their five-year-old. I’m not attacking Lana Del Rey, either. I enjoy her lyrics. Her voice is pretty cool, but it’s nothing special. I could sing most of her songs. She’s like a Bob Dylan: voice is all right; lyrics are pure poetry.

But these “kids?” They see this heavenly creature on stage and want to look like her and move like her and live like her, but they have no idea what she’s actually saying. She’s not proudly proclaiming, “I f***ed my way up to the top!” She’s making fun of people who do. Does her cult of young followers understand this, or are they, too, ready to hit the casting couch because Lana said it was okay?

I’m not sure how Del Rey feels about her own music. I’m sure she’s happy she’s playing sold out arenas and making tons of money doing what she loves. Is she happy with the slutty teenagers who think she’s God incarnate? Or is she distraught that her cult of followers don’t “get it” at all? They embrace an image but not a message. They learn nothing. Her lyrics become empty shells filled with glitz and glamour.

I don’t call for censorship. If my parents had pulled everything controversial from my CD collection, I never would have found Courtney Love, Nirvana, or Nine Inch Nails. (And hell yeah, Courtney can still wail.) I just hope young people take Lana Del Rey’s music at more than face value. They owe her that respect, because she might be rich, but she’s still sad or she wouldn’t write the way she does.

She reaches out to the sad, insecure depressive who just wants to be loved. For that, I’m thankful, because her lyrics hold the power to save troubled kids. The dumb ones who think she’s a pop-queen Barbie doll don’t deserve to be saved anyway. Survival of the fittest, bitches.

Now that I’m living life without antidepressants, I’ve learned ways to cope with creeping sadness. I’ve learned you gotta kick that sadness right in the ass, and there’s no better place to be surrounded by beauty and laughter … than Tumblr.

There, I said it. Make fun of me all you want, but the following round-up will remind you: life is tough but it’s funny and beautiful, too. I present my 12 favorite Tumblr moments.

***

1. When David Tennant made this face on Doctor Who.
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2. When Mulder made this face on The X-Files to scare Scully.

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3. When Harry Potter pretended to be a spider with fangs while high on Liquid Luck.

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4. When this dog took a second to enjoy the sun.

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5. When Bill Murray pet Benedict Cumberbatch like a dog.

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6. When Jerry wore glasses on Seinfeld.

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7. When Chandler told a secret on Friends.

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8. When I thought a shark was beautiful.

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9. When a strange little picture made me slow down.

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10. When the ocean looked like a mountain.

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11. When this dog had a very bad day.

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12. When the Sirens boys had an even worse day.

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If you need more funny, beautiful things, join me on Tumblr. Be sure to find what it is that brightens YOUR day, whether it be silly pictures, a cuddle with your pup, BBC murder mysteries, or singing Total Eclipse of the Heart at full volume.

LifeWithoutHarry_Cover2

Cover art by Katie Stout Purcell.

Today, I re-released my 2013 novel LIFE WITHOUT HARRY on Amazon. What’s it about? Consider it an homage to my love of Harry Potter …

Xanax-dependent author Samantha Elliot is on deadline with a literary festival three weeks away when a white owl flies into her windshield and then disappears. This wouldn’t be the strangest thing, if not for the magic wand that soon shows up and the Invisibility Cloak that just happens to make Sam invisible.

Then, there’s Paul Rudolph: the office crush who finally asks her on a date. With the help of anti-depressants and her friend, Julie, Sam must navigate an ever-escalating world of Harry Potter and an ever-hotter relationship with Paul while finishing a manuscript before her agent (who might be Lord Voldemort) arrives for the literary festival … and possibly Sam’s head.

An excerpt for your enjoyment!

“An owl? You hit an owl in the middle of the day on a crowded downtown street?” Sam had her best friend, Julie Grant, on speakerphone while she brushed her teeth. “Are you sure?”

“I’m pretty damn sure.” She spat toothpaste into the bathroom sink. “Then again, there was an ambulance involved.”

“An ambulance?” The volume of Julie’s voice increased. “Are you hurt?”

“No. I had a panic attack.”

“I thought you weren’t having those anymore.”

“Yeah, well.” Sam rested her palms on her bathroom sink. “Tell that to the owl.”

“I thought the drugs were supposed to help with all that.”

“They have been helping, generally, but there’s no pill that fits the category, ‘Feel like you’re going to pass out? Take this.’ You should have seen the paramedics. I swear they thought I was dying. I’m pretty sure I was the color of sea foam.”

“What about the owl?” Julie asked. “Its bloody corpse must have been nearby.”

“The critter disappeared.” She made a heebie-jeebie noise and rinsed her toothbrush before grabbing the mouthwash under the sink. “Or maybe I’m just nuts.”

Sam’s dog, Ripley, watched from the hallway, listening. She was the color of Bambie with a wrinkled forehead that made her look constantly concerned.

“Is hallucinating owls a side effect of your meds?”

“I don’t think so, but I can check.” Sam poured mouthwash into her mouth and swished it around. She tried to remember all the Paxil commercials she’d seen on TV. When they listed possible side effects, she didn’t remember anything about birds.

This is a novel for the true Harry Potter fan but also for the true romantic … and for people who generally just want a good laugh and some magic in their day-to-day. Head on over to Amazon and buy your eBook today!

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What happened after I saved Max’s life is kind of a blur.

The warehouse by the docks smelled like spilled motor oil and spoiled seafood. A big, blue moon reflected off black water. I walked fast, late for a meeting. My partner, Max, and I had been undercover two months by then, trying to bust a guy importing illegal drugs from Canada. We were close.

Max was already inside, talking. That was his strong suit. He was the brains; I was the brawn. He looked the part, too: medium height; marathon runner thin; ginger hair that he insisted was “auburn;” and non-prescription glasses he wore only when undercover to add to his smart, Brooklyn mouth.

Then, me: I looked like an ex-con who’d forgotten to shave. Over six feet with muscles built by Crossfit. Dark hair, dark eyes, and I kept my mouth shut, let Max do the talking. No one would ever suspect us for cops, not the way we looked, the way we acted: hung-over frat boys, picking at each other, pushing at each other. That was Max and me.

So just imagine my genuine fucking surprise when I walked into the warehouse to find Max on his knees with a gun in his face. The smart guy glasses were gone, replaced by a bloody nose and bruised cheek. His hands were tied behind his back. When he saw my dumbstruck ass, he didn’t break character. He looked scared; maybe he was.

“Tony,” he said, “tell them I’m not a cop.”

(If you love violence and mystery, keep reading at Over My Dead Body. If you need a soundtrack for the piece, here’s some Portishead. You’re welcome.)

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Last night, I couldn’t sleep because I thought I was going to die. I said goodbye to my dogs and my husband because some part of me was positive I would not wake up in the morning. Well. I did wake up. Some days, I wish I wouldn’t.

This is antidepressant withdrawal.

11069934_10153230902806318_6880259713043043209_nI’ve suffered from depression all my adult life. It moves as the tide; it ebbs and flows, just like my use of medication, most often, SSRIs like Celexa, Paxil or Wellbutrin. I’ve been on some variety of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) for the past year. Two weeks ago, I decided to switch medication again, but first, I wanted a clean slate. I wanted to cleanse my system of all drugs, just for a little while, and see how I felt.

My mistake.

I’ve been told antidepressant withdrawal is a lot like giving up heroin. Mental symptoms include paranoia, anxiety, fear and despair. Physical symptoms include extreme nausea, dizziness, headaches, brain zaps (you feel like your brain is being electrocuted), fatigue and night terrors.

In the past week, I’ve dreamt that I murdered one of my dogs; that my grandparents (both dead) were still walking around as rotting corpses in their old house; and that my college friend refused a date with Bill Skarsgard. The last one wasn’t too traumatic, but you get the idea.

The weeping worries me. I cried over a commercial yesterday. I cried over bad sentence structure. I cried because I couldn’t bring myself to wash a plate, brush my hair, pick a sock up off the floor …

I think I’m going crazy. And that is the scariest part of withdrawal: I’ve lost any semblance of the sanity I once had.

Read more at SheKnows.com.

john_and_sherlock_by_br0_harry-d4onnvg

You thought my husband was cruel. He said horrible things to you—biting, personal things. He brought out your worst and made you monstrous. You hated him for it, and for his brilliance, his need for blood and murder and work (always the work) with no pay because he didn’t need the money.

You hated him for that, too, his bottomless bank account and the way he wore expensive clothes and that coat. The damn coat. The way he walked with purpose, or rather strutted. You hated my husband because you didn’t know him, not at all. No one did. But me.

I didn’t always. I once called him a machine, before he died and came back, before my divorce from Mary and before Moriarty almost took him away a second time.

That was when it began, when Sherlock Holmes began to show himself to me, and he didn’t mean to. It was all an accident, the way we really got to know each other—the way I got to know myself.

I was beginning to feel my age by then. My war injuries ached when the weather was bad and the weather was often bad in London. I carried lines around my eyes that hadn’t been there when we first met, not when I first set eyes on him in the St. Bart’s laboratory and had no idea my life was about to change forever.

Or maybe I did. How could I not? I was drawn to him as soon as he spoke. Magnetized. I trusted him, God knew why. I killed for him, to protect him. I only realized later that was what we did for each other, always: we protected each other.

John Watson and Sherlock Holmes.

The jokes about us being a couple stopped when I turned fifty and Sherlock, damn him, still looked twenty-five. On the night I began to know the real Sherlock Holmes (and the real John Watson), we were simply confirmed bachelors who solved cases together and lived in the same flat: 221B Baker Street.

It had been days without a case, wherein which I found time to catch up on reading and trash telly.

For a while, Sherlock bemoaned his state of boredom. He flapped around like a limp fish on the couch and sighed dramatically until I turned up the volume to ignore the muffled obscenities he’d picked up at The Yard. He obsessively checked his cellular, but Lestrade, who refused to retire, had nothing to offer.

As the days stretched into a week, we settled into our natural rhythm. I took a few shifts at hospital and tried to make Sherlock eat. Always a battle. I stayed out late one night, consuming perhaps a pint too many with Stamford for old time’s sake and came home to a silent flat.

“Sherlock?”

I wobbled a bit on my feet as I locked the front door behind me. Yes, definitely one pint too many.

“Sherlock? Are you home?”

I wondered if he’d been called onto a case. I was used to him running off without me, although I never liked it. Never.

I searched through a few cupboards for chips, thankful to find no fingers or heads. Some things never changed.

Of course I found nothing to eat. I considered a cup of tea, but as I moved to put the kettle on, I noticed Sherlock’s bedroom door was open. The dim light on his bedside table threw shadows on the hall floor.

“Sherlock?”

I took a few heavy steps toward his door and, well, was shocked to find him … asleep? The door creaked as I looked inside, but he didn’t move so I stood and watched. No matter how many times I’d caught him snoozing at the microscope or taking short blinks in the back of cabs, I still found it strangely miraculous to see the great Sherlock Holmes actually taking a proper rest.

His back was turned to me, but his still shaggy curls stuck up like thick ferns sprouted beneath the soil of a moonlit forest floor. One of his long-fingered hands clutched to the blanket that covered him. I saw one pointed edge of a pale cheekbone. Then, I backed away, tried to leave before he woke. He always woke when I watched him sleep, like he could feel me in his dreams.

Then he whimpered and I froze. He whimpered again, mouthed incoherent words. His fingers closed tightly to the blanket above him. He said, “No, stop, don’t …”

Intellect does not dissuade nightmares.

I moved to the bed and put one hand on his shoulder. “Sherlock.” I said his name again, louder. And again.

He sat up suddenly. “John.”

“Sherlock. You all right, mate?”

“Of course.” He pushed out of bed and past me. I listened to his bare feet patter into the bathroom. The door closed behind him.

When I reached down to touch his mattress, I found it soaked with sweat.

I returned to the kitchen. After over fifteen years of friendship, one learned not to ask questions of Mr. Sherlock Holmes. But just as I put the kettle back on the stove, his voice poured over my shoulder.

“I need you to stay with me tonight,” he said.

Read the rest at Archive of Our Own.

(Be warned. One reviewer said, “You made me cry a river.”)

Image credit: br0-Harry at DeviantArt

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